I was a newspaper reporter for 20 years and one of my biggest challenges was figuring out what readers wanted to read and what I thought they needed to read.
Neither is simple, although the Internet makes the first easier: The number of clicks a story gets can give you an idea of what readers want to read. Deciding what they need to read is trickier. There's a thin line between helping your readers learn more and blatant demagoguery, especially when it comes to areas in which a level of expertise is required like wine or food, or art, gardening and sports for that matter.
Figuring out what wine lovers want and need to read is sort of like agreeing on the best baseball team as the World Series approaches. We all come at it from different angles, and even after the trophy is taken home, the argument lives on.
Wine, as I see it, is segmented into three broad readerships: general consumers, collectors and absolutists. Attracting all three is a challenge. This is how I break it down.
Consumers: A big chunk of these folks never read about wine, but there's a substantial and increasingly savvy group that is defining and refining what they like in a wine, so they're hungry for suggestions. Value to some degree is important.
Collectors: The classic wine reader. They have a cellar, whether it's tiny and stashed under a bed or a designer showplace, and they're interested in how great wines age. They avidly follow particular regions, wineries and winemakers and each vintage holds significance.
Absolutists: They are fanatical about specific wines, wineries and regions. Their passion is contagious, and it energizes the discussion about wine, as long as they don't demonize the wines they don't like.
I try to appeal to all three in my blog but, as an old-school reporter, I'm always interested in what you think.